City adopts new recycling app to increase recycling habits and reduce contamination rates

Paul Garbarino and Paul Garbarino

The City of Bowling Green announced Jan. 24 its new partnership with Recycle Coach, a mobile and online application that allows residents to track curbside pickup days and stay informed on drop-off locations and collection updates.

City residents who download the app will have access to an automatically updated calendar of exact recycling and garbage pickup dates and times custom to any location. App users can set reminders for the app to send notifications of pickup times.  

The Recycle Coach app also includes an encyclopedia of information users can reference to learn whether certain items should be recycled or disposed of and where certain hazardous items, such as batteries, should be dropped off.

“We’re trying to take advantage of new technologies to best educate residents on recycling, and we’re trying to keep contamination rates low while increasing recycling habits,” said Bowling Green Sustainability Coordinator Amanda Gamby.

The city’s partnership with the app comes in the wake of contamination issues in recent years. Gamby said in 2017 contamination rates crept up to between 30 and 40 percent. New recycling initiatives, however, have reduced contamination rates in 2018 to 14 percent.

Gamby hopes the Recycling Coach app reduces rates even further.  

The app contains several other features, including reminders for leaf, brush and Christmas tree collection for communities that offer those services. Recycle Coach also hosts a quiz users can take to learn where their knowledge of recycling falls among other quiz-takers and offers help to learn more about the ABCs of recycling.

Gamby mentioned BGSU was also included in the partnership with Recycling Coach and is currently working on integrating its data for students. The Office of Campus Sustainability plans to have the app operate so students know where recycling receptacles are located and have information regarding what can and cannot be recycled.

Users can also link Recycle Coach with their Amazon Echo or Google Home devices for easy voice commands and audible reminders. Ultimately, the goal of the app is to keep users organized, reduce contamination rates and increase recycling habits.

The City has currently launched a small marketing campaign to raise awareness of the app through Twitter and Facebook posts, but the City’s Sustainability Office plans to advertise more at Bowling Green and BGSU events.

The free service can be found on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. More information can be found on the City’s website at